Honorees for the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors are Al Pacino, the Eagles, Mavis Staples, James Taylor and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich. They will be recognized during the 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors on CBS Dec. 27.
CBS has broadcast the special each year since its debut 39 years ago. The honorees are recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts. To be seated with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, they will accept the recognition of their peers through performances and tributes. The president and Mrs. Obama will receive the honorees at the White House prior to the performance and gala.
“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society,” stated Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein. “These honorees represent what is possible when creativity is not just cultivated, but unleashed.”
Rubenstein saluted each of the five.
“Martha Argerich’s distinguished performances have spanned the globe and over the last six decades have earned her world recognition as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th and 21st centuries,” he said. “The Eagles’ ambitiously themed albums epically merged the American West and rock ’n roll, paving the way for unconventional music makers and artists to come. Al Pacino has embodied some of the most powerful characters of our time on both the stage and silver screen. Mavis Staples’ unmatched gospel and rhythm and blues masterpieces span 60 years and even served as a musical backdrop to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for civil rights; and James Taylor’s warm baritone and poetic lyrics embody the art of songwriting, making him one of the defining musical figures of our time and his music the soundtrack of our country.”